HOUSTON – GM Nick Caserio jokes that he was starting the “Houston Texans Community College.”
His statement came following Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft after the selection of Baylor safety Jalen Pitre – who was the second prospect the Texans drafted who grew up around the Houston area.
The Texans chose a trio of homegrown players with the additions of offensive linemen Kenyon Green (No. 15 overall) and Austin Deculus (No. 205 overall) by the end of the draft.
Caserio drafted Houston natives due to their on-field college production that made them top prospects at their position. But keeping the rookies close to their support system is a method Caserio believes will help with their transition to the NFL.
“Your support system is as important as anything because when these players transition, they’re going to deal with a lot,” Caserio said. “The most important thing is to try to find good players and play well. And if you play well, then some of the auxiliary benefits that come along with being a good player. Having a good support system in place certainly matters.”
Pitre described the opportunity to remain in Houston as “a blessing.” The Texans selection altered Pitre’s emotions after feeling dejected that he did not go in the first round.
Pitre, a Stafford High School alumnus, grew up following the Texans. A comparable statement came from his teammate in Green.
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When Green noticed the 832 area code on his phone Thursday night, he instantly knew he was staying home. He was delighted for a chance to begin his NFL career close to his family. But by joining the Texans, Green was keener on the idea of playing inside NRG Stadium.
Green played multiple playoff games on the Texans home field during his prep career at Atascocita High School. Green notched a post-season 3-0 record inside NRG Stadium and hopes to sustain his winning habits.
Deculus, Green and Pitre are entering the NFL with the intent to lift their home team out of football purgatory. The Texans have posted a record of 8-25 the previous two seasons.
“With me going to Texas A&M, all we did was put our heads down and worked,” Green said. “They’re on the building stages of being a powerhouse in the SEC – so I’m coming with the same mentality. Put my head down and work, and then bring people with me.”
Deculus added: “To go from national champions to the adversity we faced at LSU the past two years, helped me appreciate the finer things in life. It taught me how to be hard-nosed, and I know I am going to a team full of workers. “
With the acquisition of Derek Stingley Jr. (No. 3 overall), a native of Baton Rouge, four of the Texans’ nine draftees came from the Gulf Coast Region. Playing in Houston will give Stingley the same support system as his draft mates. But Stingley is pleased that the support will come from a distance.
“Yeah, not too far, not too close,” Stingley said with a laugh. “It’s good. I’m glad I’m here.”